Different parenting styles and how to reconcile them for your child's sake

Co-Parenting can be challenging, especially when the parenting styles of each of the parents are quite different or in direct opposition to each other.

Conflicts surrounding parenting styles are not unusual. In fact, psychologists have also said that in their line of work, this issue comes up more than any other single issue that couples bring in to the counselling room.

Dr Helgo Schomer, behavioural psychologist, discussed and identified the different parenting styles as follows:

Authoritarian Parenting

According to Dr Schomer there is high restrictiveness and physical punishment in this kind of parenting. Communication and emotional support for the child is low and he wouldn’t recommend this kind of parenting.

Permissive Parenting

Restrictiveness is very low
Parents are lenient
There’s warmth and support

Purposeful parenting

Moderate communication and high warmth

Authoritative Parenting

There is restrictiveness that is reasoned and not physical
The demand in the child is high
Open communication
Consistent emotional support

We want children that are self-reliant, independent, adaptable, carry some maturity and in short we want children that we could be proud of

Dr Helgo Schomer

Dr Schomer says parents should discuss and strategise on how they are going to raise their children. Adaptability should be encouraged when raising children because the world is changing very fast, he says.

5 potential consequences of conflicting parenting styles for children:

  • Children feel great confusion as to what to do, how to act, what’s okay and not okay and generally what the “real” rules are.

  • If the conflict is great and occurs often, children may have undue anxiety and/or depression.

  • Children can end up devaluing one of their parents as they align themselves with the parent they feel has the best style, or the one that gives them the most privileges.

  • Children who come from families with greatly disparate parenting styles may feel that marriage is not a viable relationship, or they would rather not have children themselves.

  • Children coming from a very conflicted style may endure adult depression and/or anxiety.

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